During the early 1990s the alternative music scene took off. As did I, in a sense. In my uni years (and thereabouts), I thoroughly immersed myself in shoegazers, Madchester, grunge, industrial and too many other subgenres to mention. I bought many cassettes. I did much dancing and drinking at nightclubs. Then I sort of musically drifted for about the next two decades – even, dare I say it, arriving at the point of “not being that interested in popular music (generally).”
A few months ago, upon acquiring an iPad and easy access to YouTube, I started listening a bit again. Over the last couple of weeks, I have started to make a playlist, entitled ‘Unistalgia,’ consisting of songs I would have listened to, danced to, drunk to, in the early 90s. It has been, as they say, a trip, a nostalgic blast. And then things got a bit weird.
I started to look into what some of these bands have done since I was majorly into them. Some no longer exist. Others have have split up, reformed, split up and reformed again. And yet others still exist (or did until recently), but in a different form. I listened to some of their relatively recent tunes, from the mid to late 90s and beyond… and I felt… kinda strange.
“Stop!” cried my brain, my ageing soul, as Ride, Lush and Pop Will Eat Itself became not just Bands Of The Past. “Desist and go no further!” it insisted, as the bubble of time within which these musical entities had existed burst, spraying my self with doubt and discomfort. At first I did not understand. You would think I would be happy that these icons of my youth still existed, still produced (or had until (relatively) recently) and had not dissolved into a timeless froth of obsolescence. And believe me, part of me was! The part of me that craves continuance, persistence and longevity.
But what is nostalgia if that to which one is nostalgic lives on?